Students Taking Classes in Isolated Buildings Feel Unsafe On Campus At Night


Alex McNamee

WGCU’s lighting is minimal compared to other areas on campus.

Alex McNamee, Contributing Writer

Safety on campus is one of the main things students look for when picking a college to go to. FGCU works to provide that safe environment with extra police presence, code blue safety poles and lighting. 

While these efforts to keep students safe are effective, there is one area on campus that students feel is lacking in safety. 

Some students who take classes in the WGCU Public Media building on campus have expressed their concerns over their safety when they have classes in this building. The building, which is located on the northwest side of campus, is Southwest Florida’s source for PBS and NPR. 

In the past year, WGCU has been providing classroom space for journalism students and other unrelated classes, while also providing 24 hour programming for the community. Before this area was being used for classroom space, employees were normally out of the building by 5 p.m.

This building is located in between parking garages 3 and 4, and has parking lot 3 directly in front of the building. Parking lot 3 is a staff parking lot and many of the spots remain unused throughout the day.

Lauren Rivard, a sophomore at FGCU, took her first class in the WGCU building last semester. Her class, which was between 5:30-7:15 p.m., would finish by the time it was dark outside. With very little lighting around the building, the walk to the garages were sometimes daunting for Rivard.

“There’s just no working lights around it. So we would walk in complete darkness to the nearest garage and you would just have a feeling of uneasiness,” Rivard said. “If you parked in garage 4, you would have to walk behind a section of woods and you never knew what you were walking near. They have this whole parking lot in front of the building which has upwards of 100 spots with less than 30 used everyday.”

FGCU parking services says that although parking lot 3 is for staff members, it’s available to students after 6 p.m. Students shared that while this is the case, many had classes that began prior to 6 p.m. and finished class when the sun had set. They would be required to leave in the middle of class to relocate their cars to the parking lot.

“I remember walking out of class in the first weeks and some of the students who had parked in the lot were super angry that they received tickets since the lot became student parking only a few minutes later and when they tried to appeal it, it was denied,” Rivard said.

“UPD offers a wide range of support for students in regards to notifications, safety and the like. Some of the services provided include safety escorts, motorist assistance and physical security analysis,” parking services said.

FGCU has installed 100 blue poles around campus to allow students to quickly dispatch UPD without having to call them. However, since Oct. of 2022, a majority of the blue poles around campus have been down. 

University police have been working with technicians to get the poles working again, but now five months later, half of the poles still remain inactive. The one pole located in the center of parking lot 3 is one of the inoperable poles.

Students are hoping for some solution to this problem, whether it be increasing lighting or allowing students to park in the parking lot in front of WGCU before 6 p.m. Parking services responded that they do not have any special permits for distribution for these students, but for the lighting, the university does a form of auditing throughout the year.

Students interested in inquiring about increased lighting can contact the university’s facilities planning or physical plant.